A traditional Christmas market is a great way to get into the spirit of the season, not to mention score some beautiful and unique gifts for friends and family.
In Chicago, where I live, we have the Christkindl Market, a German-style holiday market that is full of Christmas cheer.
While these types of markets are popular throughout the world, one has been voted the best in Europe three years in a row, making a strong case that it could be the best one, well, pretty much anywhere.
The Christmas Market in Zagreb, Croatia was voted to be the best in all of the continent by culture and tourism site European Best Destinations. More than 200,000 people cast their vote to determine the best market.
Zagreb’s Christmas Market spans the entire city and features a huge Christmas tree, a fountain that is transformed into an impressive light display as well as a skating rink in King Tomislav Square.
The outdoor market has live entertainment as well as a number of pop-up shops to purchase gifts of all types, and plenty of festive food and drink choices. And, of course, there are lights everywhere.
Does this candy stall look unreal or what?
Some specialities include baked štrukle, a warm, baked pastry dish with soft cheese (an example of which is pictured below from Instagram user @graduate digests), mulled wine, hot chocolate and of course, Christmas cookies.
That’s one serious Christmas tree!
There are even themed tours available to ensure that you get a taste of everything the market and the city have to offer during this magical season. For example, the “Advent In A Different Way” tour promises “a two-hour evening theme tour which tells the visitors stories about the old Advent traditions of the city of Zagreb by visiting sights decorated in the Christmas feel.” Don’t speak Croatian? No worries, the tour is also given in English.
The market is open from Dec. 2 until Jan. 7, 2018, so there’s still time to book a last-minute trip to check it out for yourself! If not, there’s always next year to enjoy this annual event. Get all the details here.
Here’s the complete top 10 list:
1. Zagreb, Croatia
2. Colmar, France
3. Vienna, Austria
4. Budapest, Hungary
5. Strasbourg, France
6. Montbeliard, France
7. Aachen, Germany
8. Basel, Switzerland
9. Metz, France
10. Tallinn, Estonia
If you’re looking for maximum holiday spirit, chances are a visit to any one of these Christmas markets throughout Europe would do the trick!
[h/t Travel and Leisure]